[DWJ] Monthly Read-Along - Charmed Life

Eleanor Joslin eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk
Wed Nov 7 09:30:57 EST 2012


On 07/11/12 06:29, Jane Scarlett wrote:
>
> What puzzles me in all of this is how old Gwendolen was when she put Cat's
> lives into the box of matches, and how come she knew so much magic then
> since it was before she had started any training?

Maybe by instinct, the same way Cat is turning things into birds at the 
end of the book?  She's borrowing his magic, so she ought to be able to 
use it the same way he would.

Then what is she learning from Mr Nostrum?  Perhaps how to use her own 
magic (witch magic) in the standard way, plus a bunch of theory.  I'm 
not sure whether Mr Nostrum realises she's in the habit of borrowing 
Cat's magic, but he seems to believe she's a witch, not an enchantress.

The incident with the book of matches happens before their parents die, 
because the parents write to Chrestomanci about it.  My reading is that 
Cat and Gwendolen live with Mrs Sharp for about a year - isn't she 
giving Mr Nostrum one of Chrestomanci's three signatures per term?  I 
also get the feeling that Gwendolen is quite a lot older than Cat, so 
maybe she and Janet are about 11 and Cat is about 7 in the main part of 
the story.  (As usual, DWJ never tells us.)  That would make Gwendolen 
10 or younger when she puts Cat's lives into the book of matches.  Does 
that sound OK?

Eleanor




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